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Thanksgiving is upon us (and Christmas is a month away), bringing us into America’s busiest travel season. 

With AAA predicting 43.5 million Americans will travel over 50 miles to celebrate Thanksgiving (the highest amount since 2007), many Americans will be leaving their homes unoccupied.

Here are some tips to help secure your most valuable possession (your home) and the items inside:

Ask a neighbor to keep an eye on your place
A good way to increase your home’s safety (and improve your peace of mind) is asking your neighbor to keep an eye on your place. Safety is as important for your neighbor as it is to you, so this small verbal request can pay big dividends (you can pay back the request when your neighbor travels). Make sure your neighbor knows your travel plans, when you’re coming back, and has a way of getting in touch with you.

Don’t announce your travel plans online
In the modern world, it’s common to post personal information online, such as on social media or blogs. But stop and think before posting your travel plans online, or posting photos while in your holiday destination. Just as you wouldn’t verbally announce to hundreds (or thousands) of people that your home is unoccupied, you shouldn’t announce this information online.

Advise the police if you’re leaving for longer than a week
It’s a good idea to tell the police if you’re leaving town for over a week, particularly if you live in a smaller town. Police can sometimes go out of their way to check out your house during their patrol. You can also notify your local neighborhood watch if one exists.

Install a burglar alarm and automatic light timers
Installing a burglar alarm is one of the best ways to protect your home. There are a range of burglar alarm types, technologies and companies who can work with you to install the ideal system. Do your research online before choosing an alarm. Also purchase automatic light timers that turn your lights on and off at set hours — this can help create the impression that your home is occupied.

Hold your mail and deliveries
A pile of boxes on the front doorstep, or envelopes pouring out your mailbox is an instant tip-off that no one’s home. And according to a new survey from insuranceQuotes.com,  23 million people have had packages stolen from their homes before opening them. If you’ll be gone for more than a few days, go to the post office ask them to place a hold on your mail. Also put a hold on your daily paper, and have packages delivered to your work or a person you trust.

Hide valuable goods
Walk around your home outside and look into your windows. If you see small items that are valuable (and tempting to burglars), put them away. Also consider investing in a safe to protect your most treasured possessions.

These simple steps can make your home safer and put you at ease
The holidays are one of the greatest times to relax with family and friends. If you’re one of the many millions of Americans traveling during this period, performing these simple tasks can make your home safer and make your trip better.


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